The Comic You Should Be Reading This Week: “Punisher: War Zone #1”

10.25.12 5 years ago 21 Comments

I’m not the biggest fan of the Punisher, as a rule. The guy is a flat-out sociopath, not a hero, and improperly handled, he comes off like a lunatic.

Outside of the MAX line, Marvel still seems uncertain of what tone to take with him. Jokey? Grim? Both?

Here, though, the book works, and the book works partially because it establishes that Frank is in pretty deep, and that the Avengers, at least some of them, are not joking around. Frank is about to have quite a few heavy hitters on his tail, and Greg Rucka makes a fairly convincing argument that he might actually deserve it.

I don’t want to spoil any recent developments, but suffice to say that the Punisher is now without any friends in either the superhero community or law enforcement. The book opens with Spider-Man chasing Frank down and trying to bring him in. Usually, Spidey losing out to the Punisher is fairly contrived: He’s got super-strength and he can’t just knock Frank out? Here it makes a bit more sense, and Rucka also writes Spidey really well with a mixture of ego, snarkiness, and genuine outrage.

The rest of the Avengers are not necessarily so convinced they need to bring the Punisher in, but Captain America agrees and thus, it’s officially on.

I like the book because I’m genuinely curious to see where it goes, and it’s the first book dealing with this in a while that didn’t feel profoundly sanctimonious. Everybody here has their reasons, usually personal, and Rucka makes it work. Carmine Di Giandomenico’s art is solid, although it’s a bit looser at points than I think the book can carry in terms of tone.

Yes, it’s a hero fight book, but so far, it’s a very well done hero fight book. I’m curious to see what happens next, and that’s rare in a mini like this.

What’s your favorite book of the week? Tell us in the comments, and we’ll talk some comics.

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